Rising Star: Padel, the Latest Racket Sport Dominating Game Courts Globally

Here Comes Padel, the Newest Racket Sport Taking Up Game Courts

Meet Padel: The Latest Racket Sport Sensation

Last summer, I was introduced to Padel, a new sport that’s been taking the game courts by storm. At first glance, the sport seemed like a simpler form of tennis, but upon closer inspection, it was clear that Padel is a unique game in its own right.

A Closer Look at Padel

Padel is a blend of squash and tennis that can be played indoors or outdoors. The sport is always played on turf, which is softer on the knees than the paved hardcourts associated with tennis and outdoor pickleball. The padel racket, usually made of foam and carbon fiber or fiberglass, is shorter than a tennis racket and has holes instead of strings. The ball is also smaller and has less air pressure.

Padel’s Growing Popularity

Santiago Gomez, Padel Haus’s founder, opened the first Padel club in New York City in 2022. Since then, the game has been growing in popularity in places like South Florida, Texas, Southern California, and New York. The sport has come a long way since 2016, when there were fewer than 20 courts across the United States. As of 2022, there were 180 courts, according to a Global Padel report from Playtomic.

Who’s Playing Padel?

Padel seems to be particularly appealing to fans of racket sports. Initially, the majority of players who visited the Padel Haus locations in Brooklyn were from other countries. The next wave included tennis players. However, the main demographic attracted to the courts in Brooklyn has been young men, but that’s changing, according to Mr. Gomez.

Costs and Accessibility

While the sport is gaining traction, it is not without its challenges. The sport can be costly, at least in New York. Renting a court at Padel Haus costs $65 an hour at peak weekend times, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Members pay $37.50 per hour; membership at one location is $140 a month. The costs can vary outside of New York for court access, ranging from free play to $40 to hundreds per session.

Our Padel Experience

As for my personal experience, I found the game to be quite engaging. The coach guided us through how to hold and swing the racket, and we alternated hitting forehands and backhands. We then tried to get the timing down as the coach hit balls deep into the court. The game required agility and quick thinking, making it a real workout. I definitely plan on playing again and have started introducing the sport to my friends.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Padel

With its growing popularity and unique blend of tennis and squash, Padel is set to make a mark on the world of racket sports. As more people discover and start playing Padel, we can expect to see more clubs and facilities accommodating this exciting sport. So, next time you’re looking for a court to play on, why not try Padel?